UdeM student awarded Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation scholarship

Alexandre Petitclerc

Alexandre Petitclerc

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Philosophy student Alexandre Petitclerc is among the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation Scholars of the 2022-2025 cohort.

The Pierre Elliot Trudeau Foundation has announced the names of the 13 recipients of Doctoral Scholarships under its Leadership Program. Among them is University of Montreal philosophy student Alexandre Petitclerc. From 2022 to 2025, he and his peers will receive personalized leadership training and mentoring, as well as access to a variety of educational resources. They will also receive two annual allowances, one of up to $40,000 for tuition and living expenses, and the other up to $20,000 for research, language training, networking and travel expenses.

Petitclerc holds a master’s degree in philosophy and a bachelor’s degree in political science and philosophy. He is particularly interested in the effects of socio-economic inequalities on the enjoyment of rights and civil liberties. Under the supervision of UdeM political philosophy professor Christian Nadeau, he is working on a thesis entitled “Droits sociaux: interdépendance et responsabilité” (social rights: interdependence and responsibility) about the need to articulate the normative independence of social rights.

“The purpose of my research is to establish how social rights play a necessary and independent role in access to civil rights and liberties," he said. “Today, social rights are generally understood either in relation to individual rights or with reference to fundamental rights. My intent is to defend a theory of social rights that transcends these alternatives.”

He noted that his thesis is perfectly aligned with the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation’s scientific theme for his cohort’s Leadership Program: the interdisciplinary dimensions of global economies.

“Since the approach I take in political philosophy is at once descriptive and normative, I want to investigate the contemporary dynamics of global economies to see how current theories can respond to the challenges they pose. My research aims to show that increasing global inequality warrants institutional ownership of social rights outside of existing international frameworks.”

Petitclerc advocates a multidisciplinary approach at the intersection of philosophy, social sciences and law. He has been involved in student associations and community groups for several years, working to advance the cause of social justice and equal opportunity.

“The contemporary world is facing unprecedented inequalities at many levels," he said. “We must work on all fronts—the economy, migration, the environment—to make this world a fairer place for all of its inhabitants.”

Petitclerc, who has been active in the Faculty of Arts and Science, was recently awarded a Louis Gagnon HORizon Fellowship. He will use the $24,000 grant to develop an undergraduate course for summer 2023 on the theme “A roof for all and all for one roof: how to reconcile human, material, environmental, economic, ethical and technological challenges to provide decent housing for everyone.”